Ex-criminal who remade himself hopes to inspire Modesto youth

local@modbee.comJuly 21, 2013 

— A man who grew up with gangs and drugs but turned his life around will headline a free event meant to inspire youth to succeed and give parents tools to help them.

His talk at the Modesto High School auditorium is being sponsored by the Stanislaus County Office of Education, Foster Youth Services, Modesto City Schools and the California Mental Health Services Authority.

Manny Scott will talk about starting the school year on a fresh page and help equip parents and educators to reach youth.

Scott's rise from a crime-filled neighborhood of Long Beach was chronicled as the character Marcus in the MTV movie "Freedom Writers," starring Hilary Swank.

"Life at its best is about helping others make the most of their lives," Scott said. "My life was changed because others took time to let me know they care, and I believe it is my duty to love and serve others in the same way."

Stanislaus County Schools Superintendent Tom Changnon said Scott's insight is invaluable. "For anyone who plays a role in reaching the youth in our communities, this event is an opportunity for revitalization and a chance to remember the zeal that first put you on a course to working with children," he said.

The free event will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 7 at the Modesto High School auditorium, 18 H St. For more, contact Erikka Perry at eperry@stancoe.org or call (209) 238-1367.

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